North American Birds

VOLUME 69 NO2 2016

A Quarterly Journal of Ornithological Record Published by the American Birding Association. The mission of the journal is to provide a complete overview of the changing panorama of our continent’s birdlife.

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V O L U M E 6 9 ( 2 0 1 6 ) • N U M B E R 2 247 Tundra Swans appear sporadically in the Alabama and Mis- sissippi region. This adult, one of a group of four that ranged widely between several locations, was photographed 16 Janu- ary 2015 at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, Morgan County, Alabama. Photograph by Jerry D. Green. Alabama & Mississippi inland continued, with 60 at Gee's Bend, Wilcox, AL 1 Jan (CK, ANM, PB) and 2 at Montgomery, AL 3 Jan (DK). A Roseate Spoonbill at Meaher S.P., Baldwin 1-18 Jan (NC, m.ob., ph.) repre - sented Alabama's first winter record. Fifty Bald Eagles in Dallas/Hale/Perry, AL 18 Dec (CK, TRP) equaled the I.C.P. maximum, while 18 on the C.B.C. at W.N.W.R. 20 Dec (fide CDC) was an excellent number. An ad. light-morph Rough-legged Hawk at W.N.W.R., Limestone, AL 7–10 Jan (CDC, EH, SRM, JCA) frequented the same area where an imm. was recorded last winter. The project to document the winter distribution of Golden Eagles in e. North America continues to provide divi - dends. An ad. and a second-year bird were at N.N.W.R., MS 17 Dec–16 Feb (SR, ph.). Else - where, an ad. was near Union Springs, Bullock, AL 10 Feb (JAT, ph.). RAILS THROUGH FALCONS Only occasionally detected inland in the Region during winter, a King Rail was heard at Saginaw, Shelby, AL 10 Jan (RSD), while 3-4 heard along the Conecuh River near Union Springs, AL 11- 12 Feb (AP, JAT, ECS) represented an Alabama winter inland maximum. Virginia Rails are rare in the Tennessee River Valley of Alabama during winter, so singles at Town Creek Marsh, Colbert 6 Dec (DJS) and W.N.W.R., Morgan 4 Jan (SRM) were noteworthy. Sandhill Crane numbers peaked at 15,000 at W.N.W.R. 7 Jan (fide CDC), an Alabama maximum. For the sixth consecu - tive winter, Whooping Cranes wintered in numbers at W.N.W.R., where up to 26 were re - corded during the reporting period (fide CDC). Reported fewer than five times in the Region (fide GDJ) made an encouraging count. Rare inland during winter, 3 Surf Scoters were on Lake Purdy, Jefferson, AL 31 Dec (RSD, ph.), and an imm. male was at E.N.W.R. 19 Jan (JCo, WM). The number of White-winged Scoters reported in the Region was but a faint echo of last winter's major incursion. In Alabama, singles were at Opelika, Lee 13 Dec (BKF) and at Wheeler Dam, Lauderdale/Lawrence 24 Jan ( DJS, m.ob.); while 7 were near Hartford, Ge - neva 22 Feb (JAT, ph.) and 2 at Guntersville 24 Jan+ (AHa, ph.). Black Scoters were lightly re - ported in Alabama, with up to 4 on Dauphin Is- land, Mobile 20 Dec–1 Jan (HEH, AH); 4 along the Dauphin Island Causeway 1 Jan (AH); and 27 off the Gulf S.P. Pier, Baldwin 3 Jan (GDJ). Common Mergansers in small numbers were reported across the Region. In Alabama, 3 fe - male-types were at Waterloo, Lauderdale 5 Dec (DJS, JPa); one was at Orange Beach, Baldwin 3–9 Jan (MMc, MH, m.ob.); and 2 were on Ok - tibbeha County Lake, Oktibbeha, MS 19 Nov–6 Feb (TLS, MHS, m.ob.). In Alabama, impres - sive numbers of Ruddy Ducks were reported. An Alabama maximum of 11,981 was recorded on the Guntersville C.B.C. 26 Dec (fide LBR), and 310 near Montgomery, Montgomery 31 Jan (LFG) were an I.C.P. maximum. Multiple Red-throated Loons are rarely re - ported in the Region, so 3 on Bear Creek, Col- bert (TMH, JTG, ph.) during the 20 Dec Water- loo, AL C.B.C. were noteworthy. In Mississippi, one was on Bay Springs Lake, Tishomingo 26 Dec (WRP). Single Pacific Loons were on the Waterloo C.B.C., Lauderdale, AL 20 Dec (DJS, MC) and on Bay Springs Lake, MS 26 Dec–14 Feb (WRP, GP). The 394 Horned Grebes on the Waterloo C.B.C., Colbert/Lauderdale 20 Dec (fide PDK) made a nw. Alabama maximum. A Wood Stork at Bon Secour N.W.R., Bald- win, AL 18 Dec (JO, EB, ph.) was a rare winter find. Anhingas are a winter rarity over much of the Region. In Alabama, 2 were found on the Montgomery C.B.C. 3 Jan (DK, m.ob.); 5 were near Mobile, Mobile 10 Jan (BN); and one was at Old Cahawba, Dallas 7 Feb (DS, JS). In Missis - sippi, a male and female were seen at N.N.W.R. on Bluff Lake and Loakfoma Lake 14–20 Dec (JH, TLS, MHS). Prior to 1990, wintering American White Pelicans were almost unheard of inland in the Region. Over the intervening years, increasing numbers have wintered. This season, up to 680 were at W.N.W.R. 3 Dec+ (fide CDC); 200 were on Weiss Lake, Cherokee, AL 22 Jan (SW); and 10 were at Lakepoint S.P., Bar - bour, AL 11 Feb (JCo, SP). Single American Bit- terns, were at Swan Creek 20 Dec (BH, CG) and W.N.W.R. 19 Jan (SRM), where they are rarely detected during winter. Up to 7 Cattle Egrets were on Singing River Island, Jackson, MS 4-26 Jan (BJ, MJ). The trend of White Ibis wintering C. Dwight Cooley –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– I t was another cold, dry winter across much of the Region, with all stations reporting temper - atures and precipitation significantly below average in January and February. February was particularly cold. All stations reported tempera - tures at least 3 o C below average, with Huntsville, Alabama reporting 4.7 o C below average. Abbreviations: E.N.W.R. (Eufaula N.W.R., AL), I.C.P. (Inland Coastal Plain of Alabama), N.N.W.R. (Noxubee N.W.R., MS), Swan Creek (Swan Creek W.M.A., Limestone, AL), W.N.W.R. (Wheeler N.W.R., AL). WATERFOWL THROUGH RAPTORS Waterbird numbers and diversity rebounded from lows of the past three years. Two Black- bellied Whistling-Ducks at the Gulf Shores S.L., Baldwin DATE (KC) represented Alabama's sec - ond winter record and the first winter record for the Gulf Coast. Greater White-fronted Geese were widely reported, with numbers peaking at 300 at W.N.W.R., Limestone/Morgan, AL 7 Jan (fide CDC). Ross's Geese were reported from a number of locations; up to 10 were at Catalpa Creek Bottoms, Lowndes, MS through 16 Feb (TLS, MHS, ZL, TH). The only Cackling Geese reported in the Region were 2 at Research Park, Huntsville, Madison, AL 10 Dec into Jan (CHG, m.ob., ph.). Always rare in the Region, 4 Tundra Swans were at W.N.W.R., Morgan, AL 2-16 Dec (CDC, m.ob., ph.) and at Swan Creek, where 4, probably the same as reported from W.N.W.R., were recorded 12 Dec–1 Jan (SRM, JMH, m.ob.). Uncommon inland in winter, a male Blue- winged Teal was at W.N.W.R., Limestone, AL 17 Dec (CDC). Canvasback numbers appear to be increasing, with 912 on the 26 Dec Gun - tersville C.B.C., Marshall (fide LBR) making an inland Alabama maximum. The 520 Redheads on the Gulf Shores C.B.C., Baldwin, AL 3 Jan

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